October is Fairtrade Month, a time for all of us to look at our buying habits and see how we can improve them.
There’s a lot of talk about global supply chains at the moment, but the truth is that outside of shortages in our supermarkets, supply chains can be unfair on farmers in developing countries.
Since it’s beginning in 1992, the Fairtrade Foundation has grown enormously and there are now over 6,000 products available for purchase in the UK. These range from everyday items like bananas and coffee to luxuries like gold.
Fairtrade sets standards for every part of the supply chain, this way they protect workers rights, and guarantee a minimum price for growers. They also offer the ‘Fairtrade Premium’ to sellers; an additional sum of money that the farmers can use in any way they see fit to benefit their community.
The foundation isn’t slacking when it comes to sustainability either. The standards their partners have to follow include improving soil and water quality, managing pests, avoiding harmful chemicals, reducing emissions and protecting biodiversity.
This year, Fairtrade boosted their green credentials by becoming a member of the Cool Farm Alliance, an NGO helping farmers in 146 countries to make informed choices on reducing their environmental impact.
The effects of these sustainability standards are clear; in West Africa they’ve reduced deforestation connected to cocoa farming, and in Panama locals have used their Fairtrade premium to protect endangered turtles.
With this in mind our October challenge is everything Fairtrade, but with a Go Eco twist!
This shouldn’t be too hard; one third of bananas sold in the UK are Fairtrade and there are 150 certified beauty products on the market. Just look for the Fairtrade logo to tell which items have their stamp of approval.
However, we want you to focus on items which are known to have the worst impacts on deforestation; coffee, sugar and cocoa. Why not try replacing your usual purchases of items containing these ingredients with certified green alternatives?
Although it seems simple, what Fairtrade does is quite unique, and is uniquely positioned to help us going forward. Agriculture is a big emitter of greenhouse gasses and Fairtrade’s supply chain approach could help encourage sustainable farming practices in the future.
Why not take some time to learn about Fairtrade’s activities on the ground? This would be a fantastic opportunity to learn about green agriculture practices, and why smallholder farming is better placed to combat climate change than industrial methods.
Tell a friend!
The Fairtrade logo has been around for a while and many people may see it without fully registering what they’re all about – this is your chance to tell them! Strike up a conversation with a friend and let them know about Fairtrade’s eco-mission, spread the knowledge and help everyone to be more eco-friendly consumers.